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Get in Shape for Ski Season with these Hard Hikes at Colorado Ski Resorts

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After breaking in your boots, stretching your hiking muscles and working on your cardio all summer, you might be ready to tackle the more difficult hiking trails at Colorado ski resorts. These trails feature sharp elevation gains, exhausting distances and breathtaking views as reward for the energy invested. If you’re ready to test your skills on Colorado’s more challenging hiking routes, keep reading for a round-up of the most strenuous hiking trails at Colorado Ski Country member resorts.


The See Forever Trail to the Wasatch Connection is easily the most strenuous hike within Telluride Resort’s boundaries as it sharply climbs over 1,700 feet under 3 miles to the Wasatch Connection that further climbs up steep and rocky terrain for an additional 1.4 miles connecting with the Wasatch Trail. The best option for hikers seeking a challenging experience is the 3,510-foot descent into Telluride via the Wasatch and Bear Creek trails.


At Sunlight, hikers can really get their heart rate up by hiking to the top of Sunlight for amazing views of Mt. Sopris and the greater Roaring Fork Valley!


The Thunderhead Hiking Trail, among the most challenging trails at Steamboat Resort, is a moderately rugged single-track trail between the top of the gondola and the base of the mountain through aspen and evergreen groves, but also offers scenic vistas. The trail has a vertical gain for more than 2,000 feet over 3.81 miles.


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The Mountain Marmot 12-mile course is a fantastic hike for those who want to get in some vertical with the reward of stunning views, beautiful foliage, and a great workout. The single-track course starts at the bottom of Lift 1 on the frontside of the mountain and takes you to the top of Lift 8 on the backside with an elevation gain of 1,850 feet.  This hike is completely free, but for those who want an even bigger challenge, register for the trail running event on September 22. 


Stagecoach is the most popular uphill hiking trail at Powderhorn. Guests can start at the bottom of the resort and hike to the very top. This trail has great picture stops that showcase the base area and the Plateau Valley. 

Kendall Mountain

For the more adventurous, a 12-mile hike to the top of 13,451-foot Kendall Peak provides amazing views of town and the surrounding mountains. From the 14th Street Bridge, take a right and follow the road as it spirals up and around the mountain. This route, often run in under 2 hours by participants in the Kendall Mountain run, is also open to four-wheel drive vehicles and OHVs.


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Crested Butte

Hiking the Peak Trail from the base area is the most strenuous hiking trail at the resort. This route technically encompasses five trials (Lower Westside, Westside and Upper Westside, Silver Queen Road and the Peak Trail), but climbs a total of 2,787 feet to the summit of Mt. Crested Butte. The elevation and vertical rise of this hike makes it the most strenuous on the mountain.

Aspen Snowmass

The Ute Trail is not for the faint of heart. This steep, heavily used trail, located on the southeast side of Aspen ascends 700 feet in just .9 miles. Many Aspen locals hike up the Ute daily to stay in top physical condition.

Arapahoe Basin

A-Basin’s only cut hiking trail, the Argentine-North Fork Trail is a single-track, multi-use trail climbing from the Mountain Goat Plaza base area to Black Mountain Lodge at mid-mountain. The trail is approximately 1.8 miles long with an elevation gain of 750 feet. The trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers, and well-behaved animals.

Argengtine North-Fork Trail